Davis County man receives traffic ticket with another person’s social security number
DAVIS COUNTY, Utah – It’s the sick feeling everyone can relate to. The feeling you get when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, and you know what happens next — you’re about to get a ticket.
But what if that ticket turns out to be one big mistake? And could it lead to even worse trouble?
A Davis County man contacted the KSL Investigators, when it happened to him.
Alex Miller said it all played out on a Tuesday night while cruising along Highway 89 in his Jeep Cherokee.
“Most people have been pulled over,” Miller said. “Your heart sinks. But you’re probably guilty.”
A Davis County Sheriff’s deputy pulled him over, giving him a citation for “failure to signal.”
“I switched lanes without using my blinker… apparently,” Miller said.
So, he signed the ticket and went on his way. But later that night when he looked at it closely, it was obvious there was a mistake. The ticket didn’t have his name on it. Instead, it was written out to a “Yolanda.”
“My name is not Yolanda,” Miller said. “But it’s a great name.”
There were other items on the ticket that didn’t match.
For starters, he’s not 5’2″. He doesn’t have brown eyes, or black hair, or any hair. And he’s definitely not a woman.
The KSL Investigators tracked down the real Yolanda – Yolanda Lamone. It was her information on Miller’s ticket.
When Miller called her up to tell her about the mistake, “surprised” is probably the best word to describe her emotions.
“At first I was like… wait… what?” Lamone said.
Especially since her height, weight, and hair color weren’t the only things on that ticket. It also included her: full name, birth date, address, phone number and social security number. Everything needed to steal Yolanda’s identity.
“For my information to be out there, it’s kind of scary,” Lamone said. “I’m lucky I got somebody who is honest.”
“With that information, really there’s quite a bit of harm that could be done. If I wanted to be malicious,” Miller said.
The KSL Investigators went searching at the Davis County Sheriff’s Office to find out how something like this happens.
Detective Ty Berger didn’t hide the fact, human error was the problem.
“We recognize that we made a mistake,” Det. Berger said. “In this case, the officer simply just drug the wrong person’s name over and populated the information but didn’t proofread it before he went out of his vehicle.”
Inside each patrol car is an automated system. The officer pulls up a person’s name by touching the computer screen, and then dragging that name to the citation and dropping it in. Doing so automatically populates the ticket. But on that night, the officer dragged Lamone’s information onto Miller’s citation. He had responded to a call at Lamone’s home just the night before, so her name was right there in his queue.
“In 2017, we issued over 3,100 citations and this is the only episode that we’ve had,” Det. Berger said.
He said mistakes like this have happened in the past, but they’re rare. Still, he said deputies can do better.
“What’s the lesson learned from this?” KSL Investigator Mike Headrick asked.
Det. Berger’s response, “Proofread before you leave your vehicle.”
The KSL Investigators have received complaints of similar mistakes happening with other law enforcement agencies as well, but many police agencies say they don’t track the information, so it’s hard to know how often it happens.